Archive for August, 2014

The Big Stuff

By Kathy NickersonAugust 29th, 2014mercy2 Comments

Hello, Dear Reader.

I doubt that you are keeping track of these things, but I should have written a post for you on Monday. Indeed, you were penciled into my schedule, and you were often on my mind. However, my week was preempted by breaking news: three grandchildren and their mother came to visit. We stayed busy for the next several days doing Big Stuff like this:

 

Longs with Grandma Great

 

 

And this:

www.kathynick.com_Grandpa&Roman

 

I’m pretty sure you’ll agree it was a good choice. See you next week.

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Why My Blog Has New Colors

By Kathy NickersonAugust 21st, 2014mercy7 Comments

Photo on 2013-05-15 at 20.15

 

Erma Bombeck once wrote a hilarious column about how buying a throw pillow on sale forced her to redecorate her entire living room. This is kind of like that.

Last weekend … drum roll please … I finished writing my current novel. It still needs a little tweaking, as Tom Hanks once told Meg Ryan. But the story has been told. Every character has played their part, taken a bow, and left the stage.

I feel finished. And satisfied. As soon as I give these characters a final bit of polish, I’ll send them off into the great unknown of the publishing world. Since their story is set in a summer cottage, I felt the need to lighten up my website in anticipation of introducing them to you, Dear Reader. So, I emailed my friend Jaymes.

“I just want to freshen things up,” I told him. “Just make it feel a little lighter. More like summer.”

Poor Jaymes. You know what that meant. The little throw pillow in my mind required new wall paint, drapes, carpet, and furniture. I think you’ll be able to see it is still the same room. But Jaymes has made it look brand new. I’m so grateful. And I can’t wait for my new characters to come to a garden party here.

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What Our Grandchildren Really Want

By Kathy NickersonAugust 19th, 2014mercy2 Comments

www.kathynick.com_dreamyearI’m so glad I could show up at this trendy venue without totally embarrassing my hipster grandsons. (I left my tennies in the car.) I’ve also learned to text so I can talk to them and their siblings in the language of choice.

However, I am not attempting to become their Glamma. I’m convinced our grandchildren are not looking for more grandmothers who are trying to be eighteen. Or even thirty-eight. Here is what I think our grandchildren want from us:

Stability: They want to know that I have been young, and now I am old, and I have never seen the righteous forsaken, as it says in the Psalms.

Love: Not the kind that buys them the latest gadget, although they may think so now. But the kind that believes the best, hopes the best, and prays the best into being. The kind that never gives up.

Refuge: The world is a crazy place, in case you hadn’t noticed. Parents are busy keeping life together, so maybe grandparents can offer some respite. Some quiet. Maybe we can be a place of refuge instead of trying to become a member of the band.

At least. that’s what I’m going for. And, I’m probably wearing my tennies next time.

 

 

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What I learned about the Dream

By Kathy NickersonAugust 15th, 2014mercy2 Comments

www.kathynick.com_hardhatsI recently attended a Dream Year event with author Ben Arment, co-hosted by the lovely Felicity White. (To whom I happen to be quite fortunately related.) Since coming home, I’ve been reading Ben’s book discreetly. (You don’t really want your boss to see you reading a book about leaving the job you hate. Especially if you are married to you boss.)

And, here is the first thing I’ve learned:

I don’t actually hate my job, and I’m already living my dream.

Not in its fullness, of course. There is still a building to go up and more team members to find for the clinic.  There are more books to write, more articles to publish, more places to speak. But right now, my husband and I are living in the middle of what we dreamed of on our first date more than forty years ago.

“I want to be a country doctor,” he told me. And I swooned. “I want to take care of kids when they are toddlers, watch them grow up, and then take care of their kids after they are born.” I signed up.

“And,” he said, “It won’t be about money. I don’t care if I ever make any money. I just want to help people.” I should have gotten a clause on that one…

But here we are, bringing family medicine to rural Missouri. Living in an intentional community with people we love. Writing stuff that people actually read. Going home at night to snuggle on our love seat, drink tea, and eat ginger snaps while we talk about our kids and grandkids. (Whom we don’t see nearly enough. A part of the dream that isn’t working yet.)

So, Ben’s book is helping me in ways he might not have imagined. It is bringing my dream into better focus. Showing me places I need to make adjustments, have more faith, take more steps. And it is convincing me once again that this dream I signed on for when I was a starry-eyed seventeen year old is still worth fighting for.

 

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Another Lesson from my Mother

By Kathy NickersonAugust 11th, 2014mercy11 Comments

IMG_2086My mother has a new phone number for the first time in sixty years. She has had this “little phone for my purse” a while. But I never even bothered memorizing that number. I could pull it up on my own cell phone if I needed to, but I never thought of it as my mother’s number. My mother’s number was the one that had rung in her house for as long as I could remember.

The number has morphed a little over the decades. We started out as Belmont-9 back in the days when numbers were marked by short and long rings. By the time we got a rotary dial, that had been shorted to B-E-9, though you never had to dial that part. Nobody called long distance unless it was an emergency.

Eventually, the Chariton Valley Telephone Company came across the country and cut straight through our barnyard to lay cable so everyone could have their own private line. (A crew came behind them to fix the fence so the cows wouldn’t get out.) We couldn’t keep track of one another nearly as well without the party line, and B-E-9 became 239. But, we managed.

Now, my parents aren’t able to manage quite so well anymore. Things like driving and cooking and keeping house have become very hard work for them. They can’t quite manage the trek to the mailbox, so neighbors have been bringing in the mail. (Thank you, Neighbors.) It seems even without the party line, we’re keeping track of one another pretty well after all.

When I wrote Thirty Days to Glory, I dedicated it to my mother because of her ability to embrace every season of life.

“She taught us that every Christmas tree was the best one ever.”

I didn’t expect her to be facing my heroine’s housing dilemma quite this soon. But, once again, my mother is a champion. Last Saturday, she and my dad left the hilltop they had shared for a lifetime and allowed us to drive them into town to a new, efficiency apartment.

For one, tiny moment her resolve faltered. And mine threatened to break into a thousand pieces if hers did. But she took a breath, nodded her head, and moved on.

Into the next season.

Into the new day.

Toward the best Christmas Tree Ever once again.

I’ll be memorizing that new telephone number now.

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How to Stop Running the World

By Kathy NickersonAugust 4th, 2014mercy9 Comments

Have you seen this one on social media lately?

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

 

Evidently, this is an old Polish proverb meaning: This is not my problem. At least that is the Internet definition. (And, these are my monkeys) When I told my eldest daughter I was going to make it my new motto, she said, “I’m going to have it tattooed on my forehead!”

I’m not sure what it is about us as nurturers, but we tend to get in everybody’s business. If I overhear one of my coworkers talking on the phone about something that is totally out of my scope of responsibility, I often catch myself speaking right over the top of her, “No, the sky is clear today. Your friend doesn’t need to bring an umbrella to the picnic.”

None. Of. My. Business! And, besides, what does it matter if my coworkers’ best friend shows up at the picnic with an umbrella? She might want it for shade!

So, here are my best tips for those of you who might share my tendency for wanting to run the world (and exhausting yourself and your creativity in the process.)

1. Shut up. My mother never allowed us to use that slang, but I mean it in the literal sense. Keep your mouth closed. When chatter is going on around you, refrain from having an answer for everything. I know you do. And, like Edith Ann, your idea’s are probably best. But refrain.

2. Trust people. I really want to remind my grown children to move their clocks forward every spring so they won’t be late for church. (Like Catherine did in Thirty Days to Glory.) But they have managed to set their own alarm clocks for several decades now. I should probably chill out.

3. Accept consequences. By that I mean, accept that other people will face consequences if I don’t set their alarm clocks, throw cold water in their faces, or drag them from their beds and throw them in the shower. Metaphorically speaking. One reason I try to run the world is because I don’t want anyone to suffer. I want to help them avoid their own consequences. But that doesn’t really help anyone grow. It just makes them keep needing me. Oh…. wait…

So that’s it, then. We shan’t get any further into my own psyche. Just start with those three tips and see if they can help you slow down your own tendency to manage things. Of course, at some point, you will wave your hands at a staff member and say “La, de, da” about some problem and the staff member will reply, “No. We are your monkeys, and this is your circus.”

That, Dear Reader, is another story.

 

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A Weekend Read

By Kathy NickersonAugust 2nd, 2014mercy1 Comment

If you are looking for something to read this weekend, here is a project Scribbles & Scribes published on Amazon this week. It’s a bit of an appetizer while readers are waiting for my next novel. Enjoy!

 

OnceCover

 

A quick read for busy parents who want to reclaim the joy of family life. Once Upon a Childhood takes readers into the daily life of four kids, two parents, and a variety of challenging moments. The book answers some tough questions like “Why won’t my kids go to bed at night?” and “How can I get my teenager to talk?”

 

A wise man once told us, “If you raise your children right, they grow up to become your best friends.” That has proven to be true. The children in this book are now raising children of their own and have become a community of friends. They will be properly embarrassed if you buy this book and read all about their atrocious behavior in childhood. Feel free to send them fan mail.

 

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